Books Recommended

From the avenue for creative arts – 7 January 2017:

W.O.R.D.S. – Where Books Come Alive

TWENTY OF THE BEST we’ve read, reviewed and/or recommended in 2016. No particular order of preference, but if you haven’t already sampled these literary delights, make sure you do in 2017. Here they are from A to a T:

  1. Art+climate=change by CLIMARTE: Beautifully illustrated showing that art and climate change can be creatively communicated. Published by Melbourne University Press.
  2. Bulletproof by Danielle Warner: the subtitle “building better employee benefits” might not grab you, but a well-told story of the creation of the highly successful Expat Insurance will. Read more
  3. Cities to Love by Tai Lee Siang & Valerie Ang: It might be the first book by this husband and wife team – who are obviously in love with each other – but they take us to the cities they love, like very experienced hands. Very readable and colourfully illustrated, this is published by World Scientific. 
  4. Dealing with an ambiguous world by Balihari Kausikan: Based on a number of illuminating talks by one of Singapore’s “outspoken” ambassadors at large, this is highly readable and might even help prepare readers for a monumental year ahead for international events. Read more
  5. Ernest Hemingway on Writing was discovered, not surprisingly, at the Singapore store writers go to. Booktique of course, where it is difficult to choose from the selection. This one’s well worth it. Published by Scribner.
  6. According to Yes by Dawn French. We love her as “Vicar of Dibley” and alongside her TV/film co-star Jennifer Saunders. Her writing is as funny and as appealing as her characters and her persona.  Read more.
  7. 80 Years of doing well and doing good by Guy Hoh shows how a company can, with a light touch, produce an impressive corporate story. Published by Asia Pacific Breweries with Straits Times Press. 
  8. Annabelle Thong by Imran Hashim is very well written and delightfully funny. Could Annabelle be the “Bridget Jones” of Singapore in France? A Singapore author who knows how to make you laugh without resorting to comic book art! Published by Epigram books.
  9. It changed my life by Wong Kim Hoh. A thoroughly good read in every way. Stories of change and hope. An inspiration. Credit to the author, the sponsor Standard Chartered and Straits Times Press. 
  10. Singapore in Transition by Han Fook Kwang. There’s a J in there somewhere – how about jobs? A compilation of excellent articles by former editor and another good example of Singapore publishing by Straits Times Press. 
  11. Connectography by Parang Khanna  This is a very well-researched and intelligently presented case study of the world we thought we knew. Meeting the man, hearing his “Big Read” talk and checking out his website, you get the big picture. Now get hold of the book which has been on the Sunday Times best-selling non-fiction list for months. 
  12. What I learned when I almost died by Chris Licht Given to me at the Writers Festival by doctor friend Colin Lim as we’d been talking about near-death experiences. An insightful first person story from an American TV producer. Published by Simon & Schuster.
  13. Monocle Guide to Drinking & Dining. Has to be on the list as it epitimises the wonderful diet of good things – words, pictures, people and places – which come in the monthly magazine and in this big book. It has the distinctive stamp of Tyler Brule. The editor in chief with the very tasteful name!  Treats galore. Published for Monocle by Gestalten. 
  14. Never Leave Home without your Chilli Sauce by Constance Singam. On the subject of food – this time Singapore food – this foodie extraordinaire has brought together stories of food, family and travel. Right up our avenue! Published by Epigram Books.
  15. Olivia & Sophia by Rosie Milne. What a historical treat. Beautifully told story of Sir Stamford Raffles’ two wives by the same lady who gave a wonderful talk about her research/writing experience earlier in the year. Also she runs the  Asian Books Blog.  Published by Monsoon Books. 
  16. Southeast Asian Plays, edited by Aubrey Mellor & Cheryl Robson. Went to the book launch. Met the editors. Enjoyed dipping into the superbly selected plays. A dramatic choice. Now we want to see them all on stage! Published by Aurora Metro Books. 
  17. Heaven has Eyes by Philip Holden. Should a question mark be there? Just as a reader might wonder whether he/she is reading fiction or non-fiction, or a merging of both. These distinctive short stories from a distinguished professor of English Language and Literature are designed, we sense, to put students to the test.  Published by Epigram Books.
  18. A Tiger Remembers by Ann Wee There are times when you read a book – fiction or non-fiction – and you come to the end wanting more. Even more than Ann gave us when she spoke about her first book at the Big Read last month. This 90-year-old definitely has more to write about and we have more to see from this Tiger. Published by Ridge Books/NUS Press.
  19. The Billion Shop by Stephanie Ye. This little treasure of a book takes its title from just one of her four beautifully crafted stories in this finely produced book from Math Paper Press. Meeting Stephanie at Books Actually we learned that there’s a novel on the way from this very promising Singapore writer. More to look forward to. Read more. 
  20. The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng. This was first published in 2012 when it won the Man Asian Literary Prize. While we only discovered it in 2016, when we also met the author at SWF. A truly great book with believable characters in a realistic Malaysian setting. More on the author and the book

See an illustrated list of Books by Ken Hickson: Books by Ken Hickson